|Publication number||US7762408 B2|
|Application number||US 11/538,407|
|Publication date||Jul 27, 2010|
|Priority date||Oct 3, 2006|
|Also published as||US8245859, US20080078727, US20100276380|
|Publication number||11538407, 538407, US 7762408 B2, US 7762408B2, US-B2-7762408, US7762408 B2, US7762408B2|
|Inventors||David D. Sargent|
|Original Assignee||Green Touch Industries, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (20), Non-Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (3), Classifications (9), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to equipment racks. More specifically, the present invention relates to lockable equipment racks.
2. Discussion of the Related Art
Equipment racks such as trimmer racks are used to help transport and store landscaping equipment. Trimmer racks are generally mounted on an open trailer or on the wall of an enclosed trailer and used to store lawn trimmers and to transport the trimmers from one job site to another during the day. Other types of equipment such as, for example, a blower, can also be stored on equipment racks. However, blowers many times require a more specialized rack.
Equipment racks available currently have a number of problems. First, the racks vibrate when the trailer is being driven down the road. This causes the equipment (e.g., trimmers) to rotate while in the rack leading to fuel spills and/or the engines of the trimmers being flooded. The vibration is caused because the trimmers do not fit tightly into the rack. One additional problem is the equipment stored in the racks is very susceptible to theft. While most racks include the ability to lock the trimmers to the rack, the locks and/or locking system are usually easily circumvented using bolt cutters or a hack saw. The locks used with trimmer racks are generally completely exposed and can be cut off in seconds using bolt cutters and the trimmer can subsequently easily be removed. In general, while the trimmer racks may be a deterrent to some thieves, anyone who is familiar with trimmer racks and brings the proper equipment can fairly easily steal equipment from existing racks.
Thus, an improved equipment rack is needed that solves one or more of the above problems.
Various embodiments described herein address on or more of the problems described above. Other advantages of the embodiments described herein will also be understood from the detailed description of the drawing below.
One embodiment can be characterized as an equipment rack system comprising an outer rack support tube; a first receiving member coupled to the outer support tube; an inner locking tube positioned within the outer support tube, the inner locking tube including a first tube latching member; and a first equipment shaft block adapted to fit with the first receiving member, the first equipment shaft block including a latching slot that engages with the first tube latching member when the inner locking tube is in a locked position. Optionally, the equipment rack shaft system further includes, in accordance with one embodiment, a second receiving member coupled to the outer support tube; a second tube latching member of the inner locking tube; a second equipment shaft block adapted to fit with the second receiving member, the second equipment shaft block including a latching slot that engages with the second tube latching member when the inner locking tube is in a locked position; a lock housing coupled to the outer support tube; a lock substantially positioned within the lock housing when the lock is in a locked position; a lock handle, coupled to the lock and partially positioned within the lock housing; a second rack shaft; and a support mechanism coupled to the second rack shaft.
Another embodiment can be characterized as a locking apparatus comprising an lock shielding housing; a lock substantially positioned within the lock shielding housing, the lock including a loop portion and a body portion; and a lock handle at least partially positioned with the lock shielding housing, the lock handle keeping the loop portion of the lock aligned with a locking hole of the body portion of the lock when in an unlocked position. Optionally, in accordance with one embodiment, the lock shielding housing is coupled to an equipment rack.
A subsequent embodiment includes an equipment rack system comprising a first equipment shaft block adapted to attach to a first shaft; a rack support structure including a locking mechanism; and a first locking receiving member coupled to the rack support structure, the first locking receiving member adapted to receive the first equipment shaft block such that the locking mechanism can engage the first equipment shaft block. In accordance with an optional embodiment, the rack support structure further comprises an outer rack support tube; an inner locking tube positioned within the outer support tube, the inner locking tube including a first tube latching member, wherein the first tube latching member engages with a locking slot in the first equipment shaft block when the inner locking tube is in a locked position; a second equipment shaft block adapted to attach to a second shaft; a second locking receiving member coupled to the rack support structure, wherein the inner locking tube further includes a second tube latching member that engages with a locking slot in the second equipment shaft block when the inner locking tube is in the locked position. The optional embodiment can further include a second rack shaft; and a support mechanism coupled to the second rack shaft. In a subsequent optional embodiment the equipment shaft rack further comprises a second equipment shaft block adapted to attach to a second shaft; and a second locking receiving member coupled to the rack support structure, the second locking receiving member adapted to receive the second equipment shaft block such that the locking mechanism can engage the second equipment shaft block.
Yet another embodiment can be characterized as an equipment rack locking system comprising a support tube; a lock shielding housing coupled to the support tube; and a lock positioned within the lock shielding housing such that only a front face of the lock is exposed outside of the lock shielding housing.
The above and other aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more apparent from the following more particular description thereof, presented in conjunction with the following drawings, wherein:
Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding components throughout the several views of the drawings. Skilled artisans will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions, sizing, and/or relative placement of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help to improve understanding of various embodiments of the present invention. Also, common but well-understood elements that are useful or necessary in a commercially feasible embodiment are often not depicted in order to facilitate a less obstructed view of these various embodiments of the present invention. It will also be understood that the terms and expressions used herein have the ordinary meaning as is usually accorded to such terms and expressions by those skilled in the corresponding respective areas of inquiry and study except where other specific meanings have otherwise been set forth herein.
The following description is not to be taken in a limiting sense, but is made merely for the purpose of describing the general principles of the invention. The scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the claims. The present embodiments address the problems described in the background while also addressing other additional problems as will be seen from the following detailed description.
The equipment rack can be mounted anywhere it is desirable to store or transport various types of equipment such as trimmers or other landscaping equipment. For example, the equipment rack can be mounted in an open trailer using the plurality of securing bolts 122. In this instance, the plurality of trailer brackets 104 do not need to be utilized. The equipment rack can also be mounted to the wall of an enclosed trailer using the plurality of trailer brackets 104. The securing bolts 122 and the plurality of trailer brackets 104 provide a lot of flexibility for mounting the equipment racks in various different ways depending upon where the equipment rack is being utilized.
The cable securing loop 130 is coupled to the first rack shaft 100. The cable securing loop 130 is used in combination with a thick cable or chain and is used in addition to the plurality of securing bolts 122 to further secure the equipment rack to a trailer or other mounting device. This feature is used as a further theft deterrent and prevents the entire equipment rack from being stolen by simply removing the plurality of securing bolts 122. Advantageously, in accordance with the illustrated embodiment, the cable securing loop 130 is formed from a wide flat piece of sheet metal. This prevents the cable securing loop 130 from being cut using, for example, bolt cutters. In another embodiment, the cable securing loop 130 is made from a round piece of metal, however, as described, this may not be the most secure way of implementing the cable securing loop 130.
The first equipment block 106, the second equipment block 108, the third equipment block 110, and the fourth equipment block 112 are used to hold pieces of equipment such as, for example, a trimmer, a line trimmer, a stick edger, and an extended reach hedge trimmer. As is shown in
When the equipment rack is in the locked position, the first equipment block 106 and the third equipment block 110 can not be removed from the first locking receiving member 114 and the second locking receiving member 118. When in the unlocked position, in order to remove the first equipment block 106 or the third equipment block 110, the first quick release lever 136 or the second quick release lever 138 are pushed toward the first shaft. The first quick release lever 136 and the second quick release lever 138 keep the first equipment block 106 and the third equipment block 110 from accidentally disengaging from the equipment rack when the equipment rack is in the unlocked position. A user can then easily remove the first equipment block 106, and thus the equipment, by engaging the first quick release lever 136 and sliding the first equipment block 106 out from the first locking receiving member 114. The second equipment block 108 is then removed from of the first funnel receiving member 116 and the equipment is ready for use.
The equipment rack is shown in a locked position in
Advantageously, in one embodiment, the equipment rack is almost entirely made from galvanized metal. This includes the outside exposed portions of the equipment rack shown in
Referring now to
The equipment rack shown in
Referring next to
The first equipment block 302 and the second equipment block 304 are securely attached to the shaft 300 such that preferably there is minimal or no rotation between the equipment blocks (also referred to herein as equipment shaft blocks) and the shaft 300. In this manner, the shaft 300 (and thus the piece of equipment) does not rotate when the equipment blocks are attached to the equipment rack (such as is shown in
The quick release catch 308 engages with one of the quick release levers (136, 138) shown in
This quick release mechanism is beneficial when driving between work sites during the day because locking the equipment to the rack takes additional time and is unnecessary as the equipment is not going to be unattended. Thus, the quick release lever and quick release catch provides a secondary latching mechanism that provides an easy to use system for securing equipment to the equipment rack while not requiring the equipment to be locked to the equipment rack.
Referring next to
The first clamping member 400 and the second clamping member 402 are secured about the shaft 300 (shown in
The gripping portions 414 of the equipment blocks allow the equipment blocks to be fastened to shafts having different diameters. For example, in one embodiment, the equipment blocks can be secured to any shaft having a diameter between 0.9 and 1.1 inches. The equipment blocks can also be made for shafts having a larger or smaller diameters by changing the size of the hole formed by the gripping portions 414 of the equipment blocks. In alternative embodiments, the shape of the hole formed by the gripping portions 414 of the equipment blocks can be changed to other shapes that provide greater or fewer contact points with the shaft. So long as the equipment block can be securely attached to the shaft, the number of contact points can vary; however, the design shown in
The second clamping member 402 includes the locking slot 416. When the equipment block is placed into one of the locking receiving members that are coupled to the first shaft (such as is shown in
Advantageously, the first set of screws 404 are not exposed when the equipment block 302 is positioned within one of the locking receiving members. Thus, the first set of screws can not be removed and therefore, the equipment block can not be removed from the shaft when the equipment is locked in the equipment rack. This prevents theft of the equipment by preventing the removal of the first set of screws 404.
Referring next to
The plurality of gripping portions 414 contact the shaft 300 in four different places providing four pressure points around the shaft 300. If a shaft having a smaller diameter is used, the fourth clamping member 408 and the third clamping member 406 will be tightened further using the second set of screws 410 (shown in
Referring next to
Prior equipment racks generally have a L-shaped portion in which the trimmer rests during transportation. The support 602 illustrates the bottom of the L-shaped portion of the equipment rack. The trimmer sits on the support and during transportation will rattle around and vibrate. This causes a lot of wear on the shaft 600 because all of the weight of the trimmer is supported by one point, thus there is a lot of pressure placed on the shaft 600. This can cause shafts to break during transportation of the trimmer from one location to another. Additionally, because the shaft vibrates, rattles around, and can rotate during transportation, prior racks tend to cause fuel spills and engine flooding.
In contrast, the embodiments described about with reference to
Referring next to
The funnel receiving member 710 is coupled to the rack shaft 700. In accordance with one embodiment, the funnel receiving member 710 is welded to the rack shaft 700. The first funnel 706 and the second funnel 710 are used to guide the post 704 into either side of the funnel receiving member 710. Depending on how the equipment rack is mounted, the post 704 can enter into either side of the funnel receiving member 710. Additionally, the post may enter into either side of the funnel receiving member 710 depending upon how the equipment block is mounted to the equipment. Different users of the system will find it convenient to have the equipment rack and the equipment blocks mounted in various ways. The design of the equipment block 702, the post 704 and the funnel receiving member 710 provide versatility so that the equipment rack can be adapted to different users' preferences.
The funnel receiving member 710 is located on the non-locking side of the equipment rack. The locking side of the rack is the first rack shaft 100 shown in
The locking grip 824 is coupled to the inner locking tube 802 and is utilized to rotate the inner locking tube 802 when the lock 816 and locking handle 812 are in an unlocked position (such as is shown in
When in the locked position, the tube latching member 822 slides into the locking slot 827 of the equipment block 828 and prevents the equipment block 828 from being removed from the locking receiving member 818. In operation, a user will insert a key into the lock 816 in order to open the lock 816. Once the lock is open 816, the lock handle 812 and the lock 816 can be moved partially out from the lock housing 814 (shown in
In the embodiment shown, the stop bolt 806 and the stop bolt slot 808 in the inner locking tube 802 prevent the inner locking tube 802 from rotating more than 90 degrees. The degree of rotation can easily be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the size of the stop bolt slot 808. Additionally, when the stop bolt 806 is removed, the equipment rack is in the unlocked position (i.e., the position shown in
Referring next to
The inner tube 802 is shown in
The lock 902 and lock handle 900 provide a locking mechanism, in accordance with one embodiment that can be utilized with many different types of equipment racks and also with many other systems where a locking mechanism is needed or would be beneficial.
A body portion of the lock 902 includes the locking hole 912. The body portion of the lock 902 is coupled to a loop portion 904 of the lock 902. The loop portion 904 of the lock 902 is detachably coupled to the locking hole 912. The general operation of a padlock is very well known in the art.
Generally, in prior systems, when the padlock is in an open position, the loop portion 904 is free to rotate and does not naturally line up with the locking hole 912 of the lock. A user of the lock, when wanting to close the lock, will align the loop portion 904 with the locking hole 912 and press the loop portion 904 into the locking hole 912. However, this assumes that the lock and the loop portion are fully accessible by the user. When a lock is fully accessible, the lock will also be very susceptible to thieves who can easily remove the lock with a set of bolt cutters.
The present embodiment discloses a locking system that makes the lock 902 much less susceptible to thieves while allowing for the lock to be easily locked and unlocked as needed. The lock 902 is positioned into the handle 900 as demonstrated in
While the invention herein disclosed has been described by means of specific embodiments and applications thereof, other modifications, variations, and arrangements of the present invention may be made in accordance with the above teachings other than as specifically described to practice the invention within the spirit and scope defined by the following claims.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US8307999 *||Jan 24, 2006||Nov 13, 2012||Mladen Pintur||Device for presenting eyeglasses|
|US20090014604 *||Jan 24, 2006||Jan 15, 2009||Mladen Pintur||Device for presenting eyeglasses|
|WO2013062867A1 *||Oct 19, 2012||May 2, 2013||Kwm, Llp||Support structure and method for storing and transporting power equipment|
|Cooperative Classification||E05B67/383, B60P3/14, B60P7/08, E05B73/00|
|European Classification||E05B73/00, B60P3/14, B60P7/08|
|Apr 19, 2007||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: GREEN TOUCH INDUSTRIES, INC., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SARGENT, DAVID D.;REEL/FRAME:019184/0585
Effective date: 20070220
|Dec 8, 2011||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SARGENT, DAVID D., FLORIDA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT 50% OF THE RIGHT;ASSIGNOR:GREEN TOUCH INDUSTRIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:027349/0053
Effective date: 20111115
|Jan 15, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4